Published: 10-08-2011, 12:50

Mueller v. Allen - American Education

A 1983 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of a Minnesota law that granted parents limited tax deductions for certain costs of secular education and educational services provided by private and parochial schools. The law allowed parents of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in private and parochial schools to deduct up to $700 a year from their taxable income. The deductions were limited to secular expenses such as student transportation, purchase of certain school materials and enrollment in special courses such as driver education. Opponents of the law called the statute a means of providing public aid to church-affiliated schools, which made up the majority of private schools in Minnesota. The Court disagreed, saying that the law met the Court’s three-part test in earlier decisions allowing some limited forms of state aid to nonpublic schools if such aid had a secular purpose, had a primary effect of neither advancing nor inhibiting religion and avoided fostering “an excessive government entanglement with religion.”
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